COVID-19 Vaccine Vials

The Union Board of Aldermen approved the use of the City Auditorium as the site of two vaccination clinics for the Franklin County Health Department.

The first event, to be held Saturday, Jan. 30, had previously been announced by the county but still needed final approval from the city. Aldermen also approved a follow-up clinic for Saturday, Feb. 27.

“I think it’s important,” City Administrator Jonathan Zimmermann said after the meeting. “This is a public health issue, and the city is fully in support of the health department.”

Aldermen also authorized city staff to set future vaccination events with the county without needing additional board approval.

The city’s agenda packet initially said the county was requesting five dates for vaccination clinics. But in an email to Assistant City Administrator James Schmieder, Donna Vandegriffe, nursing supervisor with the health department, wrote the county was canceling events scheduled for Saturday, Jan. 23, and Tuesday, Feb. 16. There was no word on a clinic initially scheduled on Saturday, March 13. 

Zimmermann said more mass vaccinations could still be announced.

“I feel there may be future dates coming down,” he told the board at its special meeting Tuesday, Jan. 19.

The county has said it plans to have around 1,000 vaccines available Jan. 30. The health department is holding the clinic in conjunction with Mercy Health, Union police and the county’s ambulance districts.

The health department also will have use of a break room during the vaccination events.

“They’re going to be in there all day,” Zimmermann said. “That way they can go downstairs, get away from the crowd and take a break. I think that’s a very reasonable request.”

Alderman Karen Erwin asked about cleaning and hygiene measures.

“You’re going to have everybody and their brother coming through that door,” she said. “Whether they have an appointment or they don’t, you’re going to have people in there in the break room who are going to be exposed. We need to make sure that the counters are wiped down and that things are taken care of appropriately.”

The health department included in its memo to the city that post-event cleanup will take place, Schmieder said.

Police also will be in the building and will help dissuade anyone who acts inappropriately, Zimmermann said.

The health department will set up in the auditorium the preceding Friday morning and have a “dry run” that afternoon before the clinics on Saturday, Zimmermann said.

To register for the Union vaccination clinic, visit www.franklinmo.org/health.

In September, the city of Union approved the upper level of the auditorium to be used for 10 contact tracers hired by the health department. But Zimmermann said the county ended up not using that space because it hired a third-party group.